Presidential Search

Position Criteria

Florida Poly Presidential Position Criteria

Florida Polytechnic University, a top ranked public, four-year undergraduate institution within the State University System of Florida, seeks a new president. Located in Lakeland, Florida Poly is the only state university dedicated exclusively to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

The president is Florida Poly’s chief executive officer and reports to the Florida Poly Board of Trustees (the Board). Subject to the oversight and governance of the Board, the president is responsible for all Florida Poly operations and for assuring that all of those operations uphold and are consistent with the University’s mission. These responsibilities include overall leadership and management of the institution, its academic and educational functions, its institutional fundraising, the development of strategic plans, and fiscal and budgetary plans and the allocation of resources. The president also has oversight responsibilities for Florida Poly’s private affiliated organizations including the Florida Poly Foundation. The president will advance Florida Poly’s academic and outreach efforts to enhance its programs and ensure that student services and support are provided to create appropriate learning environments.

Florida Poly’s mission is to serve students and industry through excellence in education, discovery, and application of engineering and applied sciences and has a bold vision to be the academic leader in building Florida’s technology-based economy.  In the short time it has been in existence, Florida Poly, a non-tenure granting institution, has experienced amazing success. The University’s enrollment continues to grow and it is in the process of building a new dorm and research facilities. For the third consecutive year, Florida Poly is ranked as the No. 1 public college in the Southeast by U.S. News and World Report. The University is also ranked as a top-20 public engineering program without a Ph.D. in the nation.

With its history of innovation and commitment to academic excellence, Florida Poly seeks a president who is ready to advance Florida Poly to the next step in growing the University to be the premier STEM university known for producing highly desirable graduates and new technology solutions. The president must be an inspiring, visionary champion of STEM education with the ability to harness the energy, talent, resources, and passion of Florida Poly’s many partners and friends.

Candidates for the position should demonstrate significant, successful leadership experience in a complex organizational setting; an understanding of and ability to advocate for Florida Poly’s mission and uphold its historical commitments; a commitment to the value and promise of outstanding, innovative STEM education; a deep and abiding interest in student success and academic excellence; a proven ability to lead Florida Poly’s fund-raising efforts; and the interpersonal skills to develop productive relationships with all members of the Florida Poly community and others key to the success of the University.



Qualifications and Attributes

The following criteria include the presidential qualities and characteristics established by the Florida Poly Board of Trustees in consultation with alumni, stakeholders, industry partners, and friends of Florida Poly.

a) As the highest-ranking official of a major public university, the president should be a distinguished scholar or leader dedicated to the advancement of academic scholarship. A Ph.D., or advanced terminal degree, and/or significant executive experience in a STEM-related field that would command respect and complete confidence is required.

b) While academic experience (professional and administrative) is strongly desired, exceptional candidates can also have demonstrated a high degree of scholarly and administrative success outside academia.

c) Demonstrated commitment to and support for excellence in teaching, research, and service, and a willingness to champion interdisciplinary collaboration and genuine innovation in these areas.

d) A willingness and ability to successfully work with industry partners on and off campus to provide exceptional research and growth opportunities for students and faculty.

e) Demonstrated support for scholarly work and academic excellence.

a) A dynamic, transparent, and confident leadership style appropriate to be the public face of a prominent public STEM institution with high state and national profiles.

b) The commitment and confidence to embrace an ambitious goal of continual recognition as a top public STEM university.

c) Ability and commitment to accelerate Florida Poly’s enrollment trajectory, including the ability, fortitude, and strategic vision to take Florida Poly to the next level by increasing the number of quality students who welcome and can excel at the academic rigor of Florida Poly.

d) Demonstrated commitment to free expression and civil discourse.

e) Knowledge of the national trends in higher education, specifically regarding STEM education.

f) Ability to identify new academic innovations and establish partnerships with private sector and governmental agencies to realize the potential for growth and opportunity at Florida Poly.

g) Ability to improve the performance metrics that inform and impact Florida Poly’s external rankings and performance measures established by the Florida Board of Governors and the Legislature.

h) A passion for learning and the belief in the power of education to change lives.

i) An understanding of all aspects of the student experience, and the ability to interact and engage with undergraduate and graduate students.

j) An understanding of all aspects of the faculty and staff experience and the ability to effectively interact with faculty and staff.

a) Ability to inspire trust and confidence among all internal and external constituents and stakeholders.

b) Ability to serve as a partner to the Board of Trustees and the Florida Poly Foundation to develop Florida Poly’s priorities and strategic plan, leading Florida Poly to successfully carrying out that plan in a manner consistent with becoming a leading STEM institution.

c) Commitment to working collaboratively with the Florida Board of Governors and all elected state leaders to advance Florida Poly priorities.

d) A passion for and commitment to Florida Poly’s academic values and the capacity to communicate its mission and needs clearly and persuasively to all external and internal constituencies.

e) A record of accomplishment serving as a relationship builder who is authentic, ethical, and of good character.

f) Demonstrated commitment to the faculty’s participation in governance, including academic standards and policies, with faculty playing an appropriate role as determined by the Board of Trustees in decision-making processes that affect the academic and working environment of Florida Poly.

g) Experience serving as a passionate advocate for a university or organization and the capacity to establish fruitful relationships with members of the legislative and executive branches as well as donors, alumni, and other individuals who may be in a position to promote Florida Poly’s agenda and interests.

h) Demonstrates an effective communication style that would be embraced by a broad spectrum of internal and external stakeholders.

i) Commitment to Florida Poly’s role as a contributor to local, state, and national economic, environmental, and cultural vitality, and recognition of Florida Poly as a partner with the community in which it serves.


a) Demonstrated success in leading an academic unit or institution of higher education, including administrative experience, or experience serving in a senior-level leadership role in a complex organization in higher education, government, business, or the nonprofit sector.

b) An established history of leading and managing institutional change while achieving long- and short-term strategic objectives that advance the mission and goals of a complex organization.

c) The ability to develop high-performing leadership teams and to cultivate environments with a shared sense of mission and culture that encourages entrepreneurism, innovation, strategic risk- taking, and collaboration.

d) The ability to set clear expectations, priorities, and performance metrics that align with the vision for Florida Poly and inspire faculty and staff to achieve success.

e) Experience leading an institution or organization during times of uncertainty, crisis, innovation, and opportunity.

Student Success

a) An appreciation for the significant role of increasing the vibrancy of student life at Florida Poly. This may include providing quality services (food, housing, etc.), athletics, and opportunities for students to find a balance between the academic rigor of a STEM university and enjoying a well-rounded life.

b) Place significant emphasis on academic success. Work to advance student preparation and connection to resources by improving logistical support for student advising, hiring, counseling, and other services.

c) Foster leadership and professional development for students by providing several opportunities that include curricular, cocurricular, and extracurricular professional development; workforce development experiences like internships, capstone projects, and undergraduate research opportunity programs; engagement in career preparation and strategy; and research experience and support structures for undergraduate students.

d) Build an engaged campus community, including a vibrant campus environment with on-site social programming and experiences that support a sense of belonging and social interaction. After graduation, alumni should be inspired to continue their engagement with Florida Poly and display their alumni pride.


a) A high level of sophistication and understanding of the fiscal issues affecting institutions of higher education, in particular an astute understanding of public university finances and state-level budgeting and appropriations.

b) Experience with complex budgetary matters, managing and allocating resources effectively, and large-scale budgetary decision-making.

c) Experience in identifying and developing new revenue streams from public, private, and governmental sources.

d) Commitment to collaborate and work with the executive and legislative branch of the Florida government to serve the mission and fulfill Florida Poly’s needs.

Advancement / Fundraising

a) A demonstrated ability to raise funds, with the capacity to cultivate a broad range of stakeholders including donors, alumni, and outside supporters of Florida Poly.

b) Demonstrated success in fundraising from public and private sources and working with key stakeholders to engage them with the institution, as well as a willingness to place that activity high on their agenda.